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Poole, Nigel (2011) Food security: deconstructing the challenge for developing countries. In: AHRC Environment and Identity Conference, 20-21 July 2011, Pendennis Castle, Cornwall. (Unpublished)

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Questions concerning food have multiple dimensions: food security depends on natural resources for production, distribution and consumption; food insecurity has been a defining characteristic of developing countries; food price inflation has been heavily implicated in political unrest; and the future of food and farming is being shaped by environmental resources, climate change and international policies. A ‘metanarrative’ of food - somewhat neglected since the late 1900s - has been bolstered by the World Bank in its World Development Report 2008 and the UK Government’s Foresight Project (2011). But there is a danger in this approach that the ‘particular’ nature of ‘food insecurity’ is lost: for example, some or many individuals are deficient in specific nutrients; similarly, changes in food production in response to policy stimuli depend on the assets and aptitudes of individual farmers. This paper draws on research and experience in Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Bangladesh and Zambia and argues for ‘deconstructing food policy’: new understanding is needed of the ‘particularity’ of the supply and demand elements of food security which hitherto has not been a characteristic of development policies. The principal point is to say that what is perceived as a big question, a macro problem, has to be broken down: analysis has to be micro - and ethical. The questions are not just ‘food security’ but ‘nutritional insecurity and vulnerability’; not only political stability but health of the poor; macro policies are important but micro policies targeting specific and local vulnerabilities and opportunities are essential…

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Items (Paper)
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Interdisciplinary Studies > Centre for Development, Environment and Policy
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > School of Finance and Management > Centre for Development, Environment and Policy (CeDEP)
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2011 13:23

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